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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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The Hurly Shuffle

There are nights when you love how much you love sports. And then there are nights like Wednesday when you prefer to drown your sporting sorrows in prime time soap operas.

The Nets, who occasionally lift my spirits in spite of my knowing that eventually they will find a way to pull them down, mishandle them and turn them over, departed their postseason under ignominious, lead-blowing, ref-abetted circumstances. Their sudden, disgusting elimination from the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals left me in that playoffs-are-suddenly-over zone every sports fan is now and then compelled to visit, the one where you have to convince yourself not to destroy your television as you rue your failure to have added Yukon Jack to the week’s grocery list.

By the time the Nets definitively proved they couldn’t take the inevitable Heat, the Mets were still technically engaged in their relatively lower-stakes competition versus their intracity rivals, yet I had witnessed enough of it to have become resigned to the imminent expiration of the delightful six-game Subway Series winning streak Good had cobbled over Evil (or, if you’re touchy about hyperbole, Irksome). As the immediate sting of the basketball wore off, the frustration from the baseball sank in like a Ray Allen three-pointer with 32 seconds to go. I was so put out by the combination of conclusions that when both contests were over, all I could stand to do was switch to DVR mode and watch the season finale of Nashville — where melodrama always paints the corners — and try to forget about the whole thing.

What whole thing?

The Mets were a lost cause by the time the Mike Scott comparisons came rolling out of the SNY booth on behalf of Masahiro Tanaka. The Ghost of Splitters Past, sans sandpaper, was showing no mercy to the lineup that doesn’t do much at Citi Field to begin with. Hernandez, Carter and Strawberry would have flailed against Tanaka, so could you really expect a whole lot more from their less capable descendants? After the Mets captured two quintessential Yankee Stadium III slugfests, it was only fitting they returned to their home park and demonstrated complete offensive impotence.

Met starting pitching wasn’t nearly Tanakan enough to make a difference, but it looked pretty good nonetheless. Rafael Montero debuted and didn’t disappoint. The kid didn’t blow the opposition away as Matt Harvey did in Arizona two Julys ago, but I don’t think that was the long-range forecast to begin with. He was competent, poised and promising enough for now: 6 IP, 3 ER (one of them the direct result of Eric Young, Jr.’s insipid decision to dive in front of an uncatchable ball) and a lovely parting gift basket to Derek Jeter, consisting of Montero’s first major league strikeout and some fancy lotions. Overall, there was enough to make you want to see more, which is all you can ask of a recalled rookie.

We have another one of those tonight, as Jacob deGrom earned a promotion from reliever to starter by being on the premises when it was learned Dillon Gee was going to the DL with a strained right lat muscle. That’s not supposed to be a serious injury (also, Ryan Church is well enough to fly cross-country with a concussion), so I’m willing to believe Gee’s misfortune is temporary and the opportunity it grants deGrom is a bonus.

If that’s not enough hurlers in motion for you, there’s one more to consider: Kyle Farnsworth walking through the exit. Farnsworth was the closer on Monday — a successful closer in that he was on the mound as his defense notched him a save. Otherwise, he was a ticking suckbomb who Sandy Alderson defused just in time to withhold most of his pending salary.

It was one of those cold business moves a team occasionally executes because it can and you can’t really argue with it since it’s contractually valid, and lord knows when it comes to late-game clutch, Kyle Farnsworth was no LeBron James. Most of his career he’s been the guy LeBron James dunks over. It fells a little icky nonetheless. Yet within the bottom line-savvy circles where we do our hardest rooting, I don’t expect to hear, when the next late Met lead slips away, cries of “Why ever did we get rid of Farnsworth?”

So good luck to Kyle Farnsworth. At any rate, don’t strain your right lat muscle as you ratchet up your bitterness at your former employers.

Perhaps it’s discovering the sun rose this morning despite my prediction to the contrary last night, but maybe fewer leads will slip away now that our bullpen’s been revamped. Jenrry Mejia is, as Jerry Manuel and I always thought he would become, an accomplished reliever now…if we can stretch the concept of “accomplished” to encompass one encouraging appearance. Jeurys Familia has closer stuff if not control. Josh Edgin is returning, and Josh’s ability to throw with his left hand makes him, theoretically, a valuable commodity. Daisuke Matsuzaka extricated Zack Wheeler’s overcooked fat from the pitch-count fire the other night; nobody will ever fully trust Daisuke Matsuzaka but he hasn’t completely betrayed us yet. Plus, once Gee and Gonzalez Germen return to active duty, there’s every chance Jose Valverde will receive a kinder, gentler but just as definitive Farnsworthian farewell.

See? Sometimes you wait for the light of day and things do look so much better. It’s enough to make you believe Rayna James will spurn Luke Wheeler and wind up with her one true love Deacon Claybourne.

8 comments to The Hurly Shuffle

  • March'62

    2015 Met pitching staff:
    Starters: Harvey, Wheeler, Gee, Niese, Noah
    Bullpen: Mejia, Familia, Parnell, deGrom, Rice, Torres, Black.

    There’s no room here for Colon and Montero. I hate to look too far ahead but this list looks pretty awesome.

    • Unless somebody is dispatched elsewhere — preferably to south Florida when a fella named Stanton heads to Flushing.

      • March'62

        Florida is probably the one location where young pitching isn’t needed. Besides they wouldn’t send Stanton in the division. But someone like that.

        Or they could shift Wright to short, move Murph to third, and put Eric Young Jr at second. That would be a Davey Johnson type defense but the offense would definitely improve.

  • Dave

    Kyle Farnsworth is in need of some career counseling. My Master’s Degree happens to be in Counseling, so here goes: if you don’t want to be released, don’t suck. And being that he’s been around the block quite a few times, he should realize this. If genetic fate had looked down on him as it did with Josh Edgin and bestowed him with lefthandedness, he would still have about 6 years of non-roster invites and partial seasons in the majors remaining for pension-padding, but dude, you’re a former flamethrower who has now flamed out. Don’t go away angry, just go away. Or better yet, sign with a division rival.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Tuesday’s game got quite boring. We got shut out Wednesday and I didn’t care.

    Subway Series ain’t what it used to be. And I’m fine with that.

  • APV

    Yeah, yesterday kinda sucked. The icing on the crap cake for me was Steve Kerr turning down the Knicks to sign with the Warriors. Guess it’s time for Phil to come out of retirement and coach the Knicks now. Or some guy from Queens named Mark Jackson; I hear he’s available.

    I’ll still tip my cap to the Nets on a very good season. The truth, pun not intended, is Miami is better when the games really matter. Ray Allen misses six three pointers last night and his only make comes with 30 seconds left to give the Heat the lead? That’s when you know it’s time to cash out. Interesting future ahead for the Nets. Kidd will get better as a coach, and Johnson and Lopez should be centerpieces going forward. But I think KG is done and Deron Williams isn’t going anywhere, sadly.

    All I can say about the doings in Flushing is this: Citi Field Is A Dump! I don’t care how good it looks. When Terry Collins says the Mets hit three balls last night that would’ve been homers in any other park, that’s a problem. I’d say good luck to Kyle Farnsworth, as long as it’s in post-baseball endeavors.

    • I was under no illusion that the Nets were going to win this series, but I really wanted them to stretch it to a sixth game, particularly once they led by eight so late. Oh well.

      Would love Mark Jackson to get a shot at the Garden. He may not be Phil Jackson, but he’s also not Stu Jackson.

  • The Jestaplero!

    As fans we now have a big problem: Bartolo Colon. One thing that is clear about deGrom is that the guy is a Starting Pitcher. But unless Big Boy gets injured we can’t have a rotation of Gee-Neise-Wheeler-deGrom-Montero which of course is what we all want (my vote would be Montero for the ‘pen).

    I don’t understand why we signed him. If Sandy really thought we needed a veteran presence to anchor the rotation until the kids were ready to come up, we already had Dice-K for that, and for no money. Now of course Bart has to start because of the Big Contract. I thought we’d trade him to a contender at the deadline, but I don’t know who’d take him the way he’s pitching thus far.

    Everything I just said applies to the Chris Young signing as well.